Movie and TV ReviewsWarner Bros., DC’s ‘Superman’ Cartoon Collection Re-Issue Is Super

Warner Bros., DC’s ‘Superman’ Cartoon Collection Re-Issue Is Super


Warner Brothers and DC have been in the headlines quite a bit this year thanks to the changes in leadership within DC and the new plans for DC’s presence on screen.  The response to the recently debuted DC tentpole, The Flash, added even more to the attention the two companies have been receiving.  That is because the response was lackluster according to most media outlets.  On the small screen, the two sides have at least one somewhat positive presentation, however in the recent re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman cartoon collection.  Re-issued direct through Warner Brothers and DC in May, the new presentation came more than a decade after its initial release through the independent company, Gaiam.  That set proved to ultimately be problematic and in turn forgettable due to the audio and video being out of sync in all 17 of the Superman shorts that are credited to Fleischer Studios.  This set fixes that problem, which is unquestionably one of its highest points.  This will be addressed shortly.  The fact that all 17 of the shorts featured in the 2012 Blu-ray are also featured here adds even more to the new collection’s engagement and entertainment.  It will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the new collection is of its own interest and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection’s presentation.  All things considered they make Warner Brothers and DC’s re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman a must have for any comic book fan, cartoon fan and classic television fan.  It is without a doubt, one of the best of this year’s new re-issues.

Warner Brothers and DC’s recent re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman is a welcome new addition to this year’s field of new television and movie re-issues.  That is due in no small part to its production.  As noted already, the set’s predecessor, which was released in 2012 through Gaiam, suffered greatly because the audio and video was out of sync in every single one of the 17 shorts that made up its body.  On the surface this might not seem all that important but anyone who has ever watched a movie and/or television show in which the sync is off knows how mentally painful it is to watch that disconnect.  To that end, having this key aspect fixed this time out means that the attention needed to even that detail was used.  The result is an aesthetic impact that in itself is certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained.

Getting on an aside here, the upconvert of the picture on a 4K television makes the experience all the more enjoyable.  That is because of just how clear the picture is, even considering the fact that the cartoons were created well before high-definition television was even a thought, so many decades ago.  This shows that just as much attention was paid to fully restoring the video as the audio.  The whole therein makes the overall production in this presentation of Max Fleischer’s Superman a key piece of the whole herein.  It forms a solid foundation for the collection that is strengthened even more through the presentation of the episodes.

Audiences will note in the episode listing printed on the case’s inside cover, all 17 original Superman shorts are here.  It should be noted that Fleischer and his studio actually created only nine of the shorts while the remaining eight were crafted by a reorganized Fleischer Studios, which went by the name of Famous Studios.  All of the shorts are featured in the same chronological order here as in their presentation in Gaiam’s collection.  As is noted in the collection’s subtitle, the shorts start in 1941 (Sept. 26, 1941 for the debut short, “Superman” and run through July 30, 1943, when the final short, “Secret Agent” debuted.  In other words, audiences get to watch all 17 shorts in their proper order as when they originally premiered in theaters.  On a related note, Warner Brothers and DC’s new official collection features all 17 shorts on a single, Blu-ray disc, unlike Gaiam’s presentation, which spread the shorts across two BDs.  Why one studio can put all of the shorts on one disc while the other couldn’t (even though both collections are on Blu-ray) is anyone’s guess.  Either way, this overall positive aesthetic is sure to appeal to viewers just as much as the collection’s positive production.

The overall production and general presentation of Max Fleischer’s Superman in its new re-issue goes a long way toward making it enjoyable.  They are not all that makes this collection worth watching.  The bonus content that accompanies the new presentation builds even more on the single disc set.  Audiences learn through the main feature, “Speeding Toward Tomorrow,” the connection between the shorts and the stylistic approach taken to the equally beloved series, BatmanThe Animated Series.  One of the latter’s creative heads is interviewed as part of the bonus and openly confirms these shorts played an integral role in how BatmanThe Animated Series’ look developed.  Knowing how beloved that series from the 90s remains today, that is an even bigger tribute to the legacy of these Superman cartoons and the work that went into developing their look.

Another interesting factoid that is revealed in the bonus content is the revelation of how Superman actually went from leaping tall buildings originally to flying all thanks to people behind the scenes.  Learning that certain figures had to essentially beg to make it happen and why makes for plenty of engagement.  It will lead to a moment of awe for anyone who might otherwise have not known the story herein.

Along with everything noted, audiences also get a brief story on the history of how Fleischer Studios created the Superman shorts.  It is not the in-depth story that is – surprisingly – offered in the companion booklet included in Gaiam’s 2012 BD collection but does at least serve as a starting point in the history of the Superman legacy.  Keeping that in mind, this discussion and the others noted here work with everything else discussed in the collection’s bonus content to make the whole of the bonus content just as important as the collection’s primary content.  When the positive of the overall bonus content is considered with the positive of the set’s production and the very presentation of the episodes in their proper chronological order, that whole makes Warner Brothers and DC’s new re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman a fitting new tribute to the legacy of Superman.

Warner Brothers and DC’s recent re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman is a must have for any longtime Superman fan as well as for any classic TV and cartoon fan.  That is due in no small part to the collection’s production.  The production rights everything that went wrong with the previous presentation released in 2012 through Gaiam.  The video and audio are in full sync, unlike with that noted set and the video looks wonderful, even upscaled from Blu-ray onto a 4K monitor.  The fact that all 17 Superman shorts are once again presented and again in their proper chronological sequence adds even more aesthetic appeal.  The bonus content featured in the collection leaves a little bit to be wanted but still adds just enough to make itself engaging and entertaining, too.  That is because of the background that it does offer.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the latest re-issue of Max Fleischer’s Superman.  All things considered they make this set one more of the year’s top new TV and movie re-issues and even more important what with Hollywood’s writers and actors unions still on strike today.

Max Fleischer’s Superman is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Warner Brothers is available at:




More information on this and other titles from DC is available at: